From your time as a student to your post-graduate experience as an alumni, TRAPCA’s support and amenities continue, as a result of your connection to the TRAPCA Alumni Network.
The Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa (TRAPCA) is a Centre within the Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute (ESAMI), which is an intergovernmental institute that is ISO certified and recognized by UNECA as a Centre of Excellence. TRAPCA was inaugurated in December 2006, with the mandate of providing training and technical expertise on trade issues to professionals in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and low income Sub-Saharan African countries. Situated in Arusha, TRAPCA is owned by ESAMI and in partnership with Lund University in Sweden.
Since its inception made possible by ESAMI and Sida partnership, TRAPCA has focused its efforts on building long-lasting and sustainable solutions to economic challenges and aspirations of indigent sub-Sahara African countries.
I am currently stationed at the Zambian Permanent Mission in Geneva for the purpose of boosting staff while Zambia coordinates the LDC Group. I am very glad to report that the trapca MSC contributed greatly towards my selection and thank you for the support and encouragement during my studies
The course is really beneficial to people especially in Africa and other less developed countries. Am fully utilizing the knowledge gained from the course and am joining a delegation to China in October. The course also made me realize how important international trade is to our economies.
I would like to take this opportunity to let you know that the valuable role you are playing in building capacity in trade issues rewarded me with a successful transfer from the ministry of youth affairs to the Ministry of Commercial and Industrial development. After the introductory course on Trade and Development, TRAPCA 100, I went home and applied for a transfer from my former ministry to that of commercial and industrial development and it was granted with ease in December 2007, three month after my training in the introductory Course.
I am pleased to inform you that this year (2013) Lesotho is the coordinator of the Africa Group on WTO issues. This means I will be chairing the WTO experts group during the year 2012/2013. This new task adds to my being the focal point on NAMA for the LDC group, Focal Point on trade and environment under ACP and deputy focal Point on NAMA under the same Africa Group. This has been tremendous achievement for only having been in Geneva for 3 years now. In fact, it also adds to having been coordinator of G 77 and China under UNCTAD in 2011. With this, I cant but always thank trapca for the investment worthwhile. I believe to be a true testimony of the impact of trapca which for one as a non economist or lawyer, I have been able to sail through.
The skills I gained at trapca will forever be an asset in my career in international trade policy. I am able to understand the various trade jargons and apply the analytical, theoretical and negotiation skills in my day to day work.
Apart from the skills, I was able to build a great network of trade policy experts and specialists from all over Africa and the world. My classmates and lecturers have from time to time offered valuable advice on various issues.
When I commenced training at trapca, I was an economist at the Ministry charged with a number of responsibilities such as preparation of various policy briefs for the Minister and Permanent Secretary as well as representing Kenya in negotiations of various elements of the EAC customs union and common market and the Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU (EPAs). During and after the training, I got more comfortable with these duties and was allocated more and more responsibilities in these areas. I was the alternate coordinator for the High Level Taskforce on the EAC Common Market negotiations in Kenya, participated in the Special Economic Zones Taskforce and EPAs negotiations and led various other processes of drafting country position papers in the areas of Trade, customs, investments and private sector development. I also coordinated Kenya’s participation (at the technical level), in the 1st EAC COMESA SADC Tripartite summit, 2nd EAC Investment Conference and follow up actions on these. In early 2010, I joined the CIDA regional program at the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi and again, the skills have continued to be quite useful.
On account of having gone through training at trapca, my understanding of trade and policy issues has been enhanced. My contributions in parliamentary debates on trade matters have been focused and informed including EAC issues, on-going COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite FTA and EAC-EU EPA negotiations
Courses at trapca have honed my analytical skills in terms of organisation, analysis and presentation. Since joining trapca, I have left my position of trade Economist at the EU and joined a more senior position at the World Bank as a country economist. The new work requires more analytical work, a competency I have gained through the trapca MSc course.
Indeed, I have been engaged in several ways with public officials especially on research reviews, EPA negotiations/preparatory meetings as a committee member and I sit in National Committee on WTO. Such activities have been boosted by the immense knowledge and skills acquired during my trapca sessions and am usually delighted to meet trapca alumni in meetings organized by AU, World Bank, Africa development bank, EU etc representing their governments.
I am glad to inform you that I have been reelected back to EALA for another five year term. One of my strong campaign points was that I am a Trade Policy Expert trained by trapca on a scholarship from SIDA to help the EAC integration process, so the training should not go to waste because I am a human resource specifically developed to further the EAC integration process.
I started my new post as Manager- Research with the Trademark East Africa……for sure trapca has changed my life to a great extent. We were 180 people from six countries interviewed for one post, but the trapca knowledge enabled me to penetrate and acquire the job. Actually when we were at the interview I noted non of my competitor has a TRAPCA knowledge this made me to gain a lot of confidence
I will like to personally give trapca “a standing ovation” for my new professional upgrade to the Post of: TRADE POLICY ANALYST (on Probation) DTI – Department Of Trade & Industry AUC – Africa Union Commission Headquarters, Ethiopia, where I now temporarily serve. I am proud today to consider myself amongst the success stories thanks to trapca‘s usual benevolence and tremendous quality of knowledge inculcated during all my training in Arusha. Today, I am opportune to find myself at the stage of action under the direct canopy of the Commissioner and Director supervising the continental’s Trade & Industry Agenda 2017. It is thanks to your tremendous efforts that Young African Professionals like myself in making a positive impact to trade policies issues at bilateral, unilateral and even regional levels.
I write to inform you that I assumed the position of Economist with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Harare Office, having worked for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for the past 9 years. I remain thankful and indebted to the late Prof. Gote Hanson, Prof. Hans Falck and the entire trapca family for the opportunity to study for an Msc in International Trade Policy and Trade Law. I thank you for your patience and determination. Proudly trapca Alumni and forever thankful.
I just want to thank the entire trapca team and of course Lund University for the tremendous opportunity of studying the MSc as a fully sponsored student and for instilling all the knowledge I have acquired about international trade policy and trade law in me…of course with a specific focus on LDCs….. Not surprisingly, this degree has opened me up to a world of opportunity. Even before I had completed the MSc, I was able to secure a job as Regional Coordinator of the Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ReNAPRI) moving from my job as Policy Analyst for Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM), on the basis of graduating in November. ……At the tender age of just 25, I have been able to achieve quite a lot and look forward to contributing substantially to the development of consistent, coherent, regional agricultural policy and applying all that I have learnt from trapca
I am delighted to inform you that I was offered a position in USAID in a new initiative called Power Africa Trade Africa as their Office Manager. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to you and the whole TRAPCA team for affording me the opportunity to get the knowledge and training I have with which I now have faith in my capabilities to take up this position. Power Africa Trade Africa has its Trade office in Nairobi and the Power office in Pretoria. I look forward to working in this team and taking the TRAPCA flag high. Once again, I thank you for the opportunity afforded me at TRAPCA
Keeping with the tradition of bringing you to speed with the investments TRAPCA has made in people like myself, it is always a pleasure for me to share latest developments in my career. As you may be aware, last year I was privileged to be appointed the chair the WTO Committee on Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMS Committee). I was further privileged to draft the African Ministers of Trade Ministerial Declaration on WTO Issues which got to be instrumental in WTO`s MC9 negotiations and outcomes. That said, this year is my last in Geneva following what will add up to 6 years having served in Geneva by February 2015. The good news is that like in 2012, I have yet another privilege of being appointed the coordinator of the African Group for the year 2014/5 at a time when the survival of the multilateral trading system is facing its ultimate test. I must also inform you that at the WTO itself, I will be relinquishing my role as the chair of TRIMS Committee this year and assume chairmanship role of yet another WTO Committee, namely, Committee on Import Licensing. With all these, many have asked as to how can a small delegation such as Lesotho which has only one officer covering the WTO take up such big responsibilities. The answer is simple, I never thought that the many sleepless nights we had in TRAPCA will translate into cultivation of a work ethic that I could not have had, had it not been for the TRAPCA sleepless nights. I can tell you that TRAPCA is the reference point for every little success I have had so far.
The International Trade Center (ITC), which celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year, is a joint Agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation. The main goal of the ITC is to support businesses in developing countries to become more competitive in global markets, speeding up economic development and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (more on www.intracen.org). ITC mainly delivers on its mandate by working with Policy Makers, Trade Support Institutions, and Enterprises.
I am working in the Division of Business and Institutional Support (DBIS), in the Trade Support Institutional Strengthening Section (TS) as ” Senior Adviser- Trade Support Services”. My section, TS provides various types of support and services aimed at strengthening Trade Support Institutions. TSIs include Trade Promotion Organisations, Private Sector Business Support Organisations (including Chambers of Commerce and Sector Associations). Key services and support provided by the section includes bench-marking TSIs (see www.tsibenchmarking.org) against global good practices and helping these organisations improve the identified areas of weakness. My work mainly involves the review and development of Trade Support Institutions (TSI) trade support services portfolios, helping these organisations ensure that they provide relevant services that are responsive to the needs of their clients. knowledge of the Multilateral Trading System (WTO agreements and principles) were part of the desirable knowledge and skills required for this position. Therefore, experience, skills and strong networks gained from my education at trapca have proven invaluable in my new job.
having exhibited a lot of educational prowess and technical expertise that cuts across the entire mandate of the Department of Trade, I was appointed Chief Officer for Trade. I highly attribute this to the fact that am an alumni of trapca having undertaken several certificate courses and the MSc in International Trade Policy and Trade Law
I’m greatly honoured and appreciative to have pursued the programmes offered by TRAPCA; even before completion of my Msc. International Trade Policy and trade law opportunities opened up and was first offered a position of “Assistant trade Officer” at the UK Trade and Investment at British High Commission in Dar es Salaam in 2012; in a year’s time, I assumed a position of “Representative Officer”; in charge of infrastructure, Environment, Transportation and Construction Systems at Sumitomo Corporation, a Japanese multinational trading company; . There is no doubt these fruits are a result of knowledge and vitality obtained at TRAPCA, I remain thankful to founders of this invented training centre and the entire TRAPCA management, sponsors and partners. Forever Trapca Alumni.
I like to extend thanks and appreciation to the Trapca and Lund University families for the level of support provided me throughout my studies. Today I am reaping the rewards from the knowledge and skills acquired through the scholarship scheme. Currently, the World Customs Organization (WCO) situated in Brussels, Belgium through my administration (Liberia Revenue Authority-Department of Customs) has hired my service to work within the Trade Facilitation Directorate as a Professional Associates representing my country-Liberia. On September 3, 2015, I took up my new assignment and had the opportunity to meet the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO) Mr. Kunio Mikuriya for briefing.
I give the Almighty God the glory first and secondly the entire administrative and academic staffs of trapca and the Lund families for their endurance and time impacting knowledge and skills in me, that today am ably representing not only my country but the Institution. BRAVO TO THE GREAT TRADE INSTITUTION-TRAPCA/LUND
I wish to give a little feedback of progress made since undergoing the TRAPCA Training in WTO Law and Dispute Settlement Understanding in 2013 ……I was confirmed in my position as Chief Economist -Domestic Trade and given the responsibility of Chairing the National Working Group that deals with issues of Trade Facilitation such as One Stop Border Post (OSBP) and the Simplified Trade Regime. in this regard the National Working Group which consists of broad stakeholders from the Government and key institutions from the public sector have come up with a roadmap and prioritised 6 Border posts for establishment of OSBPs namely at Kasumbalesa with DRC, Mwami/Mchinji with Malawi, Kazungula with Botswana, Victoria Falls with Zimbabwe, Nakonde with Tanzania and Katima Mulilo with Namibia. The emphasis is to concentrate on a few and ensure that we start with the softer infrastructure and then hard infrastructure. the working group is also looking at other Border Management issue…..The department is also dealing Trade Policy Formulation with emphasis on inclusive Domestic Trade Regulations strengthening in order to ensure the local markets are working in terms of retail and wholesale trade and also improving the distribution channels and other business linkages for SMEs development and local product development
In 2009, I was part and parcel of a team at Uganda’s National Planning Authority (NPA) that was preparing Uganda’s National Development Plan (NDP). We still had several months, and many more challenges to grapple with, prior to completion of this very important document.
Then one day at the office I was lazily browsing on the internet when something caught my eye; “Trade Policy Training Center in Africa” (TRAPCA)! I looked closer at the screen while asking myself; “who could these people be”??? I had spent most of my higher education in the USA (BA; www.howard.edu) and UK (MSc; www.lse.ac.uk), and was yearning for a real African educational experience. I browsed deeper and found – i.e., in trapca’s “academic calendar” – that they offered courses which addressed issues surrounding my favorite topic (regional integration), and the next course along those lines was only a few weeks away (i.e., “Preferential Trade Agreements for Development: Issues and Implications”; November 30 to December 4, 2009). There was NO WAY I was going to miss this one so as usual I ambitiously went ahead, carefully filled out the application right there and then – without any second thoughts – and sent it to trapca (with a halo around my head that read “wishful thinking”!).
Exactly one week later, to my pleasant surprise, I got accepted into the programme, and was even offered funding for (i) travel, (ii) course study, and (iii) accommodation! This was too good to be true!! I already had a masters’ degree by that time so I played along more out of “curiosity” about ‘trapca’ than anything else.
Upon arrival there, I was totally stunned! I hadn’t expected to see anything elaborately arranged, but the framework and arrangement of EVERYTHING (i.e., accommodation, catering facilities, in-house services, etc) was – to say the least – extremely impressive. It almost felt like being at school in London again! On my first day, I went to sleep that night smiling and thinking to myself; “…this can’t be! I wonder what stunt they’re trying to pull here…”! So I now anxiously awaited commencement of classes to prove if it all tallied with how impressive the first day was.
If the orientation (the day before) had been stunning; the classes, and Professors who lectured them, were truly world class! I was being lectured by professionals from the World Bank and the WTO!! As they spoke I was all ears, completely fixated, and very active in discussions. Above all else, the small group of students with whom I was taking the course came from a diverse spectrum across the African continent, and for a Pan-Africanist like me; I really felt at home!! The whole experience felt reminiscent of an internship experience I had had at the United Nations in New York (five years earlier). Prior to trapca I thought I was destined to be a ‘Development Economist’, but – to my advantage – my first experience at trapca changed everything.
Fast-forward ahead – from that very first memorable experience – I have since traveled to Arusha a second time (…fully confident of what to gain there!!), and thus far I have achieved an intermediate Post-Graduate Diploma. Come what may, I am NOT stopping until I have achieved my second masters’ degree at trapca (i.e., MA in International Trade Policy and Law). The foundational basis offered by my first MSc (Development Economics) gives me even more encouragement, because what I am now doing at trapca is zeroing in with specificity, i.e., distinctively towards ‘trade policy’ in general, but concentrating on “regional integration”.
In addition to the high quality theory, the richly diverse spectrum of students with whom I had long and sometimes heated discussions during courses at trapca has taught me to put into consideration, and clear perspective, different national interests and concerns, i.e., in an effort to work towards mutual goals and objectives that affect the lives of thousands, if not millions, of people. Also, bearing in mind increasingly global trends; I am now able to strategically decipher and come to logically accept LDC interests from a very cohesive standpoint. At the moment, for example, I am very much involved in National Monitoring Committee (NMC) meetings and negotiations that specifically address issues that are of great concern to landlocked countries within the EAC. I am also actively involved in trade dialogues that address concerns of all EAC member states in general in light of the current EPAs. I have also been invited, several times, to be part of a research-oriented “think-tanks” that meets regularly to brainstorm about regional integration. ALL THANKS TO trapca!!
My experience at trapca has influenced my career very positively. I highly appreciate the fact that I can easily evolve my perspective(s) from biased nation-specific trade interests by fairly putting into consideration other nation’s concerns. It is, indeed, gratifying to find myself involved in negotiations that are working towards cohesively merging with several nation-states to craft out similar standpoints – as and when necessary – on issues that are of mutual interest and concern.
Two years ago (now seven) I traveled to trapca simply out of curiousity. Now, however, my ambition to continue at trapca arises more out of a “sacred mission” and what I have personally dubbed a “personal responsibility” not only to my country, but also to the East African region and the African continent as a whole. Bearing in mind what I have gained from trapca; I can confidently and rightfully attest to the fact that what trapca has to offer is truly a blessing to African professionals…; a blessing which, I think, should be practically emulated across Africa, and given much more vocal recognition and financial support than it currently receives.
This is a note of thanks and commendation to the Trapca Alumni for their earnest and successful efforts toward bringing to reality that long-cherished dream of making the institute, a center of excellence in Trade policy capacity building for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and other Low Income Countries (LICs).
You may wish to recall as far back as September 2014, when I took upon conviction to dare into the wilderness of thought-provoking African think-tanks with my MSc thesis on “the facts and fallacies of establishing a Continental Free Trade Area” (September 2014);
Today I count myself privileged amongst the many African young scholars and policy experts that believed in this dream of establishing an African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and assisted in person with the African Union Commission (AUC), to bring this into reality with the signature of 44 African AU Member States who unanimously agreed upon the need to foster trade liberalization and gradually dismantle tariff barriers and NTBs in Africa. History was made this year in Kigali, Rwanda where the AfCFTA was officially launched in March 2018.
On this note, I would wish to thank the Trapca Family, without forgetting my thesis supervisor Prof. Dickson Yeboah of the WTO Trade Negotiation Skills Unit, for haven given us the knowledge and tools to access untapped resources in the fields of international trade policy and trade law.
Today that same MSc thesis (written some 4 years and some change.. ago!) is being studied and quoted in many international research journals, universities e-libraries, scholars and international organizations including the WTO and UNCTAD, as can be seen below
I am a proud son of Mother Trapca, and I believe as an Alumni, it’s time for us to recognize Trapca’s achievements and give back to our mother institute, as much as what she naturally and unreservedly gave us in our respective professional careers.
To encourage young African scholars and future Trapca Trade Policy Experts, to stand for what they believe in; I would like to end this note of appreciation with a wise saying of an American born scientist and inventor of the motion picture camera and electric light bulb, Thomas A. Edison, and I quote “When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t”.
Thank You TRAPCA for molding us.
Long live Africa, Long live the CFTA, long live TRAPCA.
My name is Alphonso Jeromas Saiewane, I am a Liberian. My motivation in international trade policy and trade data analysis pushed me to acquire a Master of Science Degree in International Trade Policy and Trade Law four years ago (Nov. 2018) from this prestigious institution, the Trade Policy Training Center in Africa, ESAMI-trapca in collaboration with Lund University.
I am ever so grateful to the ESAMI-trapca family for acquiring such a rewarding degree that has imparted my career goals and objective in a positive direction. With the knowledge of International Trade Policy and Trade Law, I was privileged to be part of the technical team that drafted Liberia’s Goods and Services offered at the WTO.
Currently, I work for the Liberia Revenue Authority as a Technical Focal Point for the Commissioner of Customs, within the Department of Customs. In this Managerial position, I am responsible for the Department reports compilation, and coordinating the preparation of International and national trade statistics for internal and external stakeholders’ decision-making. I am also responsible for managing the execution of the Department’s action Items for Internal decision-making.
With this Degree, the sky is the limit for my career goals and objectives. I remain grateful to the ESAMI-trapca family for such an opportunity.
Allow me to express my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to study for an MSc in International Trade Policy and Trade Law with TRAPCA and Lund University in 2018.
Believe you me, I have achieved and continue to achieve surprisingly a lot through the knowledge and skills I acquired at ESAMI-trapca . I have become more confident in presentations leading me to conduct independent research and represent my organisation, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) at two regional customs research conferences so far. In 2017, I presented at the 2nd World Customs Organisation (WCO) Regional Research Conference in Nairobi and in 2021 at the 3rd WCO Regional Research Conference held virtually. I have written numerous trade facilitation and policy articles for the WCO ESA Regional Office for Capacity Building newsletter. I have also participated as a panellist in several webinars as well as training on trade facilitation at local and regional training institutions. Due to my involvement in World Customs Organisation East and Southern Africa Virtual Working Group on Gender Inclusion and Diversity where we developed a regional module on gender in customs administrations, I have been elected a board member of Women in Taxation (WIT), Zimbabwe chapter where I offer advisory services on gender policy issues. I am currently working towards being an accredited gender expert with the World Customs Organisation international office.
This is just a snippet of what I have managed to achieve and will with an ESAMI-trapca education. I am so proud to be associated with this great institution!
Its opportunities are unlimited with an ESAMI-trapca education!
Dear Trapca Management. First allow me send my sincere appreciation for the world class knowledge and skills you have imparted in us under the trapca programmes. Am glad to share with you part of the achievement in the recently concluded World Customs Research conference in Nairobi Kenya that took place between 23rd-24th November 2017. Out of all the submissions, the top three Research papers were presented by TRAPCA students. My paper which was examining trade effects of Authorised Economic Operator firms, on clearance time (as a measure of trade facilitation), trade volume and taxes paid emerged to be the best, followed by that of Frank Kalizinje of Malawi Revenue Authority and then that of Sendra Chihaka of Zimbabwe Revenue Authority. I felt this information is valuable in sharing the success stories realized from the specialized training you offer and can be an encouragement to other participants. I want to convey my sincere appreciation and gratitude towards the entire trapca management for building a pool of professional specialists to influence the world.
I have been appointed Deputy Manager in charge of RULES OF Origin and Trade Facilitation after going through a rigorous interview. My Trapca credentials helped a lot. I am grateful to trapca.
ESAMI-trapca unlocked numerous doors for me. I enrolled for the then ‘Foundation courses’ in 2016. I attained a Post-graduate Certificate in Trade Facilitation in 2016. I went on and attained a Post-graduate Diploma in Trade Facilitation the same year. I then immediately enrolled for the Master’s Program in International Trade Policy and Trade Law. I graduated in 2019. Throughout my ESAMI-trapca journey, the educational content and experience, coupled with networking with fellow students from all over Africa shaped my career journey. When I was enrolling at ESAMI-trapca, I was working as a customs officer in Malawi Revenue Authority. My career has evolved over time. I am now working as a Senior Tax Policy Analyst in Malawi Revenue Authority’s Policy, Planning and Research Department. In 2022, I won the Best Research Paper Award at the African Tax Administration Forum’s (ATAF) ATRN Congress.
A ship at harbor is safe but that’s not what ships are meant for. Equally so, acquiring a qualification is good but not enough – it has to be put to use. I count myself privileged to have acquired an MSc in International Trade Policy and Trade Law from TRAPCA and Lund University in 2018.
Given my Government’s current pursuit of economic diplomacy (which is anchored on Investment, Trade, Tourism and Diaspora Contribution) the qualification has proved to be a necessity and relevant.
My Principals presented me with a lifetime opportunity to join a team of expert trade negotiators to the deepening of the ESA-EU iEPA meetings which were held in Brussels from 22 to 24 January 2019.
It was amazing to experience the practical side of the moot negotiations we used to undertake at TRAPCA. The need to match trade concepts, theories, principles of trade and the realities became so apparent. Of course, each party had its offensive and defensive interests to guard and indeed the underlying principle is always that negotiations are about give and take for mutual benefit.
I am highly indebted to all TRAPCA staff, management, facilitators and my supervisor for depositing such information in me/us and to my Principals at work for providing the platform and having faith in me. To SIDA I will forever be grateful for the financial support without which this qualification will not have been realised. And to my family and friends for you are much appreciated.